By Nigel Wynn
Tour de France 2010 winner Andy Schleck (Trek Factory Racing) confirmed during a press conference on Thursday morning that he will retire from professional cycling.
The 29-year-old from Luxembourg has said that a persistent knee injury has ruled out his continuation at the top-level of the sport, and he retires after nine years as a professional.
"There's been a lot of speculation, now I have to confirm the speculation," said Schleck. "I will not be a cyclist in 2015. It hurts."
"I’m obviously disappointed to end my career like this. I would have liked to keep on fighting but my knee just doesn’t allow it. Since my crash in the UK [the Tour de France stage to London] there has hardly been any progress. While the ligaments have healed, the damaged cartilage is another story. I have been working hard on rehabbing the knee but came to the hard realization that at the risk of irreversibly injuring it, this is the best course of action."
Schleck did not reveal what he would do next, but hinted at staying in the world of cycling.
“Cycling has been my life for many years and I will need time to figure out what I’d like to do. Luckily I can count on my family, friends, and Trek who have always supported me."
"I am very happy to have trained and raced alongside my brother [Frank] and to have made some of the best friends that I have. I have always said that cycling is not the beginning and the end of my life. I have a wonderful girlfriend and a wonderful son. I’m excited to find out what lies ahead.”
Aside from his 2010 Tour de France title, which he 'inherited' when Alberto Contador was stripped of the title for testing positive for clenbuterol, Schleck's other major victories include Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2009 and stage 18 of the 2011 Tour de France.
Since 2011, Schleck has not won a race, suffering from a series of injuries and crashes.
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